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Just because it's Ramadan doesn't mean you can't get a little adventurous and go explore somewhere new. While a lot of places in the Middle East shut down in the morning during the month of Ramadan, there are plenty of destinations you can explore that pack a punch without requiring a 13-hour flight or selling a kidney or two to pay for the experience. If you're looking to get away for a few days – or weeks, if you're a hustler or an entrepreneur – we've got a few suggestions...

BEIRUT, LEBANON

Beirut's a beaut. Natural landscapes to die for and an unparalleled nightlife scene across the region make Beirut a must-experience destination any time of year; and despite being in the Middle East, Beirut is always open for business. Home to a welcoming people, some seriously delicious food options, and a very rich history, Beirut is one of those cities you can't visit just once.

via EAT

WHAT'S THE VISA PROCESS?

Visa is given on arrival provided you have $2,000 on your person (though they sometimes don't check); alternatively, you can get your visa from the embassy in Cairo ahead of your travels without needing the $2,000.

HOW MUCH WILL THIS TRIP COST?

Average airfare in May: 2,500 – 3,000 EGP

Average price for two people per night in a hotel: 700 – 3,000 EGP
Average price per night in an apartment: 700 – 1,500 EGP

Average daily expenditure for food: 140 – 170 EGP ($8-10)

WHAT'S THERE TO DO IN BEIRUT?

Unlike large parts of the Middle East, Beirut is not alcohol-free during the month of Ramadan; those who aren't fasting should definitely hit up one of the city's uniquely quirky live music venues – catch a show and some cocktails while you're at it. Looking for a longer night of drinks and dance? Beirut loves to party – just hit up a bar (or three) or one of their famed night clubs.

via Culture Trip

On the flip side of the entertainment scene, Beirut is bustling with arts and culture attractions – namely their museums that range from the civil war all the way back to prehistory

Now, contrary to popular belief, Lebanon is not ridiculously expensive. There are plenty of experiences to be had that won't cost much and will still let you experience Beirut like a local.

WHAT ARE THE DAY TRIPS I CAN TAKE OUTSIDE OF BEIRUT?

If you fancy spending a day out of Beirut, you'll find that the city has plenty of day trip options you can take, like Baalbek, which is home to some of the world’s best preserved and largest Roman temples. There's also the fabulous Jeita Grotto, an intricate system of caves that draw in thousands of tourists weekly. Then you have parks and camp sites like Swings and Rio Lento.

ATHENS, GREECEvia Avis

WHAT'S THE VISA PROCESS?

Athens requires a Schengen visa, which you can apply for at the Greek Embassy in Egypt.
Pro tip: it's always best to apply for your Schengen visa from the embassy of the country you're landing in, even if getting it from another embassy does give you access to the entire region – you'll find far less complications applying for the country you're landing in.

HOW MUCH WILL THIS TRIP COST?

Average airfare in May: 4,700 – 5,000 EGP

Average price for two people per night in a hotel: 500 – 2,000 EGP
Average price per person per night in a hostel: 150 – 500 EGP

Average daily expenditure for food: 120 – 200 EGP

WHAT'S THERE TO DO IN ATHENS?

Being in Athens means being in the center of cultures and civilizations that once ruled the world. So, you can’t really visit without seeing landmarks of such an incredible cultures: The Parthenon, The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, the Acropolis of Athens, and the Daphni Monastery are among the must see monuments when in Athens.

Another thing the city has in abundance is museums, and each tells a different story that would have history buffs more than intrigued: National Archaeological Museum – with the world’s largest collection of Green antiquities, Acropolis Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art, Benaki Museum, and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. There’s also The National Museum of Contemporary Art if you’re looking for something more artistic, this is where you want to go. The place has everything from art paintings to experimental architecture.

via Jan M

It can’t all be stone structures and museums; the National Gardens in the heart of Athens offers the perfect retreat from the city noise, with excellent scenery and green all around you.

Lycabettus Hill is one of the highest points in Athens; need we say more? Apart from the panoramic gorgeous views, the base of the hill is full of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants to make your entire evening just perfect.

The neighbourhoods of Athens are a beauty to explore on foot. Plaka neighbourhood is particularly interesting, being one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the world!  But it’s Varvakios Agora that offers a rather different experience compared to the rest. It’s basically the city’s entire food market, with everything you could possibly think of, from biscuits to fresh fish. You probably won’t find a more lively and colourful place in all of Athens.

Monastiraki neighborhood is where you’ll want to go for some night-time conquests. The place is also very old and known for its rooftop bars and exquisite boutiques and bazars.

WHAT ARE THE DAY TRIPS I CAN TAKE OUTSIDE OF ATHENS?

While Athens is a beauty of its own, you might very well find yourself with a day or two to spare by the end of your trip. You can spend them exploring the Greek Island like Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. There's also the panoramic Meteora and the ancient, and gorgeous, city of Corinth that looks like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. Finally, you can visit Olympia and pay tribute to Zeus in the town where the old Olympic games were held.

MILAN, ITALY via Four Seasons Hotel

WHAT'S THE VISA PROCESS?

Milan requires a Schengen visa, which you can apply for at the Italian Embassy in Egypt. 

Pro tip: it's always best to apply for your Schengen visa from the embassy of the country you're landing in, even if getting it from another embassy does give you access to the entire region – you'll find far less complications applying for the country you're landing in.

HOW MUCH WILL THIS TRIP COST?

Average airfare in May: 4,900 – 5,000 EGP

Average price for two people per night in a hotel: 1,600 – 4,000 EGP
Average price per person per night in a hostel: 200 – 1,000 EGP

Average daily expenditure for food: 200 – 250 EGP

WHAT'S THERE TO DO IN MILAN?

Milan Cathedral is one of the first places you have to visit in the city. It took over 600 years to build and is one of the most architecturally impressive structures in the world.

Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is another fascinating structure in Milan, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The design of the church is gothic in nature, and more importantly, it has a mural of one of the world’s most famous paintings inside: da Vinci’s Last Supper.

You can’t say you’ve been to Milan with going to the Piazza del Duomo, one of the largest public spaces in the country, with sculptures and architectural gems all around you –– not to mention restaurants, cafés, bars, and much more.

One thing you’ll notice about Milan is the abundance of architectural marvels there. Whether it’s the Sant Ambrogio buildings –– one of the oldest in the city, built in 379 AD or the Castello Sforzesco castle built in the 15th century, you’ll find yourself surrounded by bricks and stones telling stories of times long past and civilizations that are no more.

Museums and art galleries are a feast for the sore eyes in Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera is a fine art gallery with an extensive collection of Italian art, with works by Bellini, Raphael, Correggio, and many others. Then you have the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, dedicated to the Italian artist and genius, considered to be one of the most inventive and visionary men to have ever lived. You can expect to find much of his works and drawings inside this museum, reflecting just how brilliant da Vinci was.

via Toros Photos

Milan is not all about ancient civilizations and architecture; the Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest shopping mall and is where you can go to find all your shopping needs. But in typical Milan fashion, this isn’t exactly your average mall. Once you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve entered an opera hall or a museum, with artwork and high ceilings around you.

Speaking of opera halls, La Scala Opera is where classical music aficionados need to be as this is one of the world’s oldest opera houses, built in the late 1700s and having seen many great artists over its long lifetime.

If you’ve had your fill of ancient buildings and museums, Parco Sempione offers large open spaces and public gardens with bike trails and fountains to feast your eyes on some natural beauty before your visit comes to an end. Walking down the Naviglio Grandoffers another delightful experience, with gorgeous buildings and restaurants around to keep you company.

You can’t leave without visiting Basilica di San Lorenzo, one of the oldest churches in the country and a very important religious buildings in Milan.

WHAT ARE THE DAY TRIPS I CAN TAKE OUTSIDE OF MILAN?

What would you do if you knew that Venice is only a three-hour drive from Milan? You'd be surprised with the amount of very cool day trips you could take from Milano, things so interesting that they rival the city's very own charms. If Venice doesn't intrigue you, perhaps a luxury cruise in Lake Como, combined with a walk in the city's historic streets, would do the trick. If you're going to Como, might as well swing by Bergamo and explore its medieval architecture and and vast landscapes. Oenophiles would do well to explore Franciacorta and its splendid wines.

ISTANBUL, TURKEYvia Euractiv

WHAT'S THE VISA PROCESS?

You'll have to apply for the Turkish visa from the embassy in Egypt before you go.

HOW MUCH WILL THIS TRIP COST?

Average airfare in May: 5,500 EGP

Average price for two people per night in a hotel: 400 – 1,000 EGP
Average price per person per night in a hostel: 120 – 700 EGP

Average Daily expenditure for food: 85 – 100 EGP

WHAT'S THERE TO DO IN ISTANBUL?

You can’t say you’ve been to Istanbul if you haven’t visited Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest buildings in the world. Built in 537 AD, Hagia Sophia was once a church, then a mosque, and now is one of the world’s most visited museums, where visitors flock to see the mosaics, calligraphy, and intricate design. While you’re there, ask about Basilica Cistern, which is an engineering feat underground which is now dimly lit and open to visitors, with classical music in the background.

Istanbul is well known for being a shopping haven that draws people from everywhere. Grand Baazar is the center of that shopping haven, and it’s one of the oldest markets in the world. It’s also one of the biggest, with 61 streets and over 4,000 shops, receiving an average of 250,000 visitors a day.

Istanbul has a very unique architecture, with fascinating buildings and breathtaking views. You have the Galata Tower with a stunning view of the entire city, and there’s even a restaurant and a nightclub on top. Then there’s the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), which is a very famous landmark in the country and no trip to Turkey would be complete without it. The color of the tiles surrounding the place and the unique Islamic architecture make it quite an interesting and spiritual experience.

via Istanbul Welcome Card

İstiklal Avenue is the most famous area in Istanbul, with over three million visitors per day in the weekends. You’ll find everything you could possibly imagine, from cinemas and bars to restaurants, which are one thing you have to try out in the country; the Turkish cuisine is quite special and will leave you begging for more.

In the mood to party and dance all night? Ortakoy neighbourhood is where you want to be.

One of the coolest thing you could do in the city is take a Bosphorus Cruise, which will give you an exquisite view of the Istanbul and a chill setting to spend a nice evening amidst the city’s beautiful buildings and monuments.

While not exactly a touristy thing in most place, getting a Turkish bath is an experience that will leave you feeling more rejuvenated that any time before in your life, and it’s their specialty in the city.

WHAT ARE THE DAY TRIPS I CAN TAKE OUTSIDE OF ISTANBUL?

There's much to do from Istanbul. People enjoy a day trip to Gallipoli War Cemeteries to pay their respects to those who have fallen in WWI, and after that enjoy the wonderful shoreline of Gallipoli. After that you can make your way to Çanakkale to see the monument of Troy, and then explore the modern life in the city. If you want to know where the locals escape when they're tired of the city, Princes' Islands is where you need to go. It's a ferry ride away and offers a serene and delightful escape from the city. If ferries aren't your thing, you might want to go on a Bosphorus Cruise and chill in the middle of the gorgeous scenery.